What was your motivation to start Ampère?
I’ve been in design and manufacturing for over ten years; with my company WORKINGMENBLUES, we work b2b for fashion houses, mostly womenswear. We have made so many beautiful fabrics over the years and I always regretted the fact that 99% of our creations were adopted by womenswear clients only.
When meeting with my today’s partners, Koen and Randy, I knew we could create something unique. All three of us believe that creativity and love for fabrics should not only be restricted to womenswear. We want to make techniques and designs, traditionally seen as suitable to womenswear only, accessible to menswear as well. To anyone!
Why is Amsterdam a source of inspiration for both Ampère and you?
I moved here in 2015, during the first year of my first business. So, Amsterdam has definitely shaped me professionally. I think the best word to describe Amsterdam is “freedom”. To me it’s the freedom this city breathes that attracts so many young creative people. The ease of speaking English, the ease of commuting, the relatively simple Dutch entrepreneurial rules. Although being an international capital, somehow the city feels less pressured than other major capitals. These factors create a good playfield where we young entrepreneurs see less obstacles to just try to put our ideas into an actual business. So, originally, I am not from Amsterdam, but I am definitely inspired by Amsterdam.
What is your vision on sustainability in fashion? How do you implement this at Ampère?
Sustainability in fashion is not only about a GOTs- or GRS-certifications. To me, sustainability in fashion starts with the motive of your brand and then how you organise your company. Our goal is to create beautiful products from qualitative fabrics; products that sustain. That together with a well thought-through and responsible way of organizing your chain of supply should be the base of building a sustainable company in fashion.
Not all our products are GOTs- or GRS-certified and we do not have a closed loop business model. So, no, at Ampère we are not leaders in sustainability.
However, we are very aware of the fact that we should take responsibility and that our actions have impact. We work on lowering our footprint as much as possible: in the development phase we are digitalizing the first phase of prototyping, saving at least one round of sampling. Our B2B sales partly happen digitally, via our platform at JOOR, saving sampling sets or at least a sales-trip.
As for the actual production, we try to not overproduce. Thanks to our strong network in fabric mills and confection factories, we are able to make small runs or tag along on already running material productions. Additionally, our goal is to bring productions closer to home. For SS23 we have set the goal to produce 80% in Europe and we are also discovering production sites in The Netherlands.
By the way, our sweat & tee programs are made of 100% GOTs-certified cotton, and we try to use as much recycled and certified materials in each collection possible. However, certifications remain a challenge in small quantity productions and, for sure, they don’t tell the whole story.
What's your favorite item of the SS22 collection?
If you’d asked me early February, I would have said the Moos jacquard kimono, as I love the 3D-effect of the floral padded-jacquard fabric we created. That in a kimono vest with a belt in self-fabric is a great piece; especially for Amsterdam-summers.
However, now my number one is 100% the August Tee for Ukraine. The turnover of the sales will go to our Ukrainian partner-factory and colleague on the spot. It’s of course only a tiny gesture in this humane crisis. The only right thing to do for us (and our leaders!) is to take our responsibility and stand up for Ukraine more directly, also if this is not in our economic advantage at first.